A recent tweet of mine regarding the absence of racism in Prince George’s County, Maryland received a lot of attention as it gained over 700 re-tweets and over 1,100 likes. The tweet stated, “Growing up in PG racism was never really a topic of discussion. I guess it’s a blessing to grow up in a thriving Black county and area. I am not complaining.”
Judging from 90% of the replies from PG County residents, this was also their reality throughout their upbringing. I was born in the early-mid 90’s. Growing up as a Black child in PG County I did things such as go to gogo’s/passa passa’s every weekend, play in gogo bands, shop and sit on the steps at Gallery Place, post up at the BLVD and PG Plaza, attend PG County Public Schools sports events and other things that a lot of PG County children did.
A lot of us also did what we refer to as “Hang around the way” which means, congregate outside with other residents of your community and engage in activities you choose or see fit for yourself. A lot of PG County communities are not racially diverse. PG County is predominantly Black. According to Data USA Black people account for a little over 60% of the people in PG and White people account for 13%. That means that 87% of the county is non-white.
It’s almost as if there were little to no White people present to be racist to us. I grew up in classrooms, played on community sports teams and lived in communities with no White children. I have gone plenty of days without seeing a single White person. As a result, something such as White privilege was never thought of or talked about to a lot of us in our adolescence. There were not enough white children to exhibit how they can be treated better or different because the color of their skin.
According to several sources, PG County is the wealthiest Black county in America with an annual household income of $76,741. Growing up in Hyattsville, Maryland I never thought of or referred to a wealthy community as being the “White Neighborhood.” I have always associated wealth with Black. On my bus ride to school we would stop and pick up children in communities such as Woodmore, Fairwood, and Lake Arbor. All of these children were of color living in some of the most luxurious homes and upscale community’s PG County had to offer.
One man mentioned me on twitter and stated, “I make references about this county a lot… #Salute.. Seeing it is a breath of fresh air, especially being from the rural south.”
I grew up in the DMV era when we worried about making it home from parties, being safe on the metro, not getting robbed for expensive clothes, and making it out of neighborhoods we’re not from. That is not to say racism did not exist, but it was not the topic of discussion being that it was not relevant to our day to day lifestyle.
The Prince George’s County Public School System is ranked among the lowest in the state of Maryland. A couple of people on Twitter referred to this as a sign of racism. This fact was the most referred to sign of racism in PG County but as far as people to people interactions are concerned, no acts of racism were reported.
A lot of my peers and I did not become aware of racism until we left PG County. People spoke on life outside of PG as they stated things such as, “Moving out of PG was such a culture shock in the worst way man” and “Honestly. I didn’t experience my first racist encounter until I went out of town in Atlanta. I was confused.”
The first time I laid eyes on a confederate flag was when I moved to South Carolina. Previous to my encounter, I had never learned anything about the history or significance of the flag. The flag seemed to be everywhere throughout the state as I spotted it in front yards, on vehicles and in front of bars/restaurants.
Apparently, a lot of people who reside in surrounding or nearby counties have a different experience being Black. The following tweets sent to me elaborate on Black experiences in neighboring counties; “but then u cross the border to charles county… whole nother story” and “That is a blessing. I’d rather that than be in MoCo where people racist but turn around and make you think it’s a figment of your imagination.”
I enjoyed hearing what other Black people thought about life in Gorgeous Prince George’s. A lot of us hope that all Black people will get to receive the Black experience we do in PG County.